Dear Cramer, if you try to get back at the Daily Show, don’t forget they have a tape archive.
We called it the Rubber Duck method of debugging. It goes like this: 1) Beg, borrow, steal, buy, fabricate or otherwise obtain a rubber duck (bathtub variety) 2) Place rubber duck on desk and inform it you are just going to go over some code with it, if that’s all right. 3) Explain to the duck what you code is supposed to do, and then go into detail and explain things line by line 4) At some point you will tell the duck what you are doing next and then realise that that is not in fact what you are actually doing. The duck will sit there serenely, happy in the knowledge that it has helped you on your way. Works every time. Actually, if you don’t have a rubber duck you could at a pinch ask a fellow programmer or engineer to sit in.
Microsoft has made a business out of selling licenses to run software that can be copied at no marginal cost, this everybody knows. Essentially, they manufacture software, but their product isn’t computer code, it’s legal code. Contracts.
The companies and institutions that buy these generally don’t buy these directly through Microsoft. Instead, they sell contracts in bulk to Microsoft Certified Partners (MCP’s), which are local companies that lobby the software, generally at a loss to themselves, as they know that Microsoft’s lock-in is powerful enough that they can only get service contracts from the company if they offer a substantial discount on the Microsoft products.
Now, the licensing term is three years, but the licensing fee is made in the form of annual payments. Here is where the fun begins.
Now, say an economy collapses. Say some fifteen hundred companies in your local economy go bankrupt. Now, say that Microsoft comes to collect its annual fee from the MCP’s. The MCP’s say, of course, “wait, the company that we sold this license to has gone bankrupt, we shouldn’t have to pay.”
“Aha!” says the suit from Redmond. “You made a contract with us, and another with them. Their inability to uphold their end of the contract does not invalidate your commitment to us.”
This is what I’ve heard from pals in the industry. Pals who’re being screwed over right now. In short, the MCP’s have to pay the licensing fees for the bankrupted companies.
The sheer shock of having to do so is starting to hit the Icelandic economy, hard. Already battered by the collapse of almost all privately held financial institutions and the subsequent bust of nearly fifteen hundred companies, Iceland’s MCP’s are next.
But the backlash effect has been astounding. Several of Iceland’s largest MCP’s are now fighting for survival in a sea already at significant turmoil due to the economic depression. Shit had already hit the fan, but now they’re being skull-fucked by Microsoft to boot.
And what would you do? Well. My sources tell me a lot is afoot. Several MCP’s are bailing out, switching over to Free Software and restructuring their business model. Keep the revenue inside Iceland, sell better technical services for less money and yet double their revenue. “Why didn’t we do this earlier?”
Kim Jong Il was unanimously re-elected to North Korea’s rubber-stamp parliament, state media said Monday, in elections closely watched for signs of a political shift or hints the autocratic leader is grooming a successor.
Turnout Sunday was 99.98 percent, with all voters backing the sole candidate running in their constituency, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.
In other news, 0.02% of the population was sent to labor camps.
Elections in NK are funny: you walk into the election station, get a pre-filled voting card from the desk, and you dump that voting card in the box at the same desk. If you want to vote for another candidate, you step into a booth behind the curtain where you cross out the only candidate. At that time, you also cross out the rest of your life, of course.
The brain of every human being, from believers to atheists, has been revealed to contain at least three “god spots”, all linked to religious beliefs and thoughts.
A team of US researchers has obtained strong evidence that religiosity is managed by the same parts of the brain that are used every day to interpret other people’s moods and intentions and to analyse experiences.
Moreover, the spots exist in the brains of ordinary people, not just those whose extraordinary religious experiences have been triggered by brain injury or neurological conditions like epilepsy.
Scientists, philosophers and theologians have long argued about whether religious belief is a biological or a sociological phenomenon. Britain’s controversial evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins contends that religion is essentially a cultural virus, spread from brain to brain.
Others argue that it arises from the structure of the brain itself.
The new findings by researchers at the US National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland — obtained by non-invasive brain scans of 26 Americans — have gone far to resolving the debate.
Jordan Grafman and his colleagues wrote in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the evolution of the brain networks that handle religious thoughts “was likely driven by their primary roles in social (thinking), language and logical reasoning”.
According to University of NSW evolutionary biologist Rob Brooks, the study shows that religion taps into existing parts of the brain that evolved to handle complex social interactions.
“It exploits existing parts of our brain,” Associate Professor Brooks suggested.
So evolution is why people can become religious. How’s that for irony?
You can now follow a mime on twitter
What would happen if your local bank failed? Scott Pelley and “60 Minutes” were given extraordinary access, as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation moves in to take over a failed bank in Chicago.